Adolescence is characterized as the developmental period in which the greatest amount of growth and change is experienced, both physically and psychosocially. While the navigation of these years can be challenging for parents, there is comfort in the fact that adolescence offers equipped minds that are biologically prepared to learn from parents and elders.

Therefore, you as a parent possess the unique ability and opportunity to impact and aid your teenager through these defining years, more so than any other influence. Specially, you can help them build healthy confidence, and subsequent assurance, that they are valued individuals with great potential.

Promoting Healthy Confidence

World renown developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst, Erik Erikson, noted adolescence as the fifth stage in psychosocial development, where either identity or role confusion are attained. Identity achievement, obtained following successful completion of this phase, is when a person understands, accepts, and appreciates who he/she is as a unique individual – this is the underlying origin of confidence.

True confidence then does not come from peer conformity and perceived social acceptance, but instead from youth recognizing and valuing who they are as distinct individuals. Thus, healthy confidence is based on an understanding of intrinsic worth, not superficial standards that are ever-changing in youth culture. By promoting this proper perspective, and helping your adolescent discover and value their unique identities, you can play a role in their development of healthy confidence.

Consistent parenting tactics that promote healthy confidence in youth:

  • Reinforcing your child’s skills and strengths with emotional support
  • Encouraging a home-culture of self-affirmation
  • Setting and helping your child achieve rewarding goals
  • Expressing reassurance after failures, and identifying losses as learning opportunities
  • Always expressing your love for your child

Heathy Confidence = Enduring Confidence

Healthy confidence stems specifically from identity achievement, but is securely cemented as an enduring character trait when two fortifying elements are present: a stable value system, and a reliable support group. Parents play a strong role in both of these factors.

Value systems are first learned in the home, and if reiterated and prescribed by parents, research has shown that the values young adults retain strongly match that of their parents. Possessing a stable value system will provide your adolescent with a solid foundation, from which they will be able to find added meaning in their life, and more effectively make and trust their decisions – a practice conducive to healthy confidence.

Moreover, working in conjunction with consistent value systems, reliable support groups assist youth in maintaining an enduring confidence. Dependable friends, and especially family members and parents, demonstrate to youth that they are loved, and possess intrinsic worth and value. There arguably exists no greater indicator of healthy and enduring confidence than the quality of an adolescent’s support group.

If you are looking for additional resources to help your loved one gain greater and healthier confidence, there are professional resources and programs to help. WinGate Wilderness Therapy is among the best of such programs, with experienced counselors who seek to assist your young adult in developing healthy life perspectives and behaviors, and the best kind of confidence. Contact them today to learn how they can help!


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